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New Orleans Saints: Analyzing the 2021 NFL Draft by position

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 05: Caleb Farley #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies celebrates with teammates against the Miami Hurricanes during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 05: Caleb Farley #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies celebrates with teammates against the Miami Hurricanes during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports /

Offensive Line

Long-Term Need at Position: Medium

The Saints’ five starters are entrenched on the offensive line this season, but you draft offensive linemen for immediate production.

With neither of their tackles under contract for next season, interior offensive lineman Andrus Peat struggling, and Cesar Ruiz far from a lock to contribute, they definitely don’t have enough overall stability at a weak-link spot.

First-Round Value

  • OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State (Rank: 19)
  • OT Samuel Cosmi, Texas (Rank: 23)
  • IOL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC (Rank: 27)

If the Saints did ever decide to move on from Ryan Ramczyk or Terron Armstead to capitalize on their value, they could benefit from a fall of Jenkins or Cosmi, who aren’t as coveted as my model rankings indicate they should be.

However, all of them, including the versatile Vera-Tucker, probably won’t be available with the 28th overall pick.

Other Options

  • OT Brady Christensen, BYU (Rank: 37)
  • IOL Wyatt Davis, Ohio State (Rank: 38)
  • IOL Kendrick Green, Illinois (Rank: 39)
  • IOL Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin Whitewater (Rank: 40)
  • IOL Trey Smith, Tennessee (Rank: 44)
  • OT/IOL Jackson Carman, Clemson (Rank: 51)
  • IOL Drew Dalman, Stanford (Rank: 77)
  • IOL Ben Cleveland, Georgia (Rank: 78)
  • IOL/OT Robert Hainsey, Notre Dame (Rank: 101)
  • OT/IOL Cole Van Lanen, Wisconsin (Rank: 134)
  • IOL Sadarius Hutcherson, South Carolina (Rank: 143)

Most likely, the Saints can look to add offensive line depth later on. With productive and athletic players like Christensen, Green, Dalman, and Smith, they can potentially wait until the end of the third round, and there are versatile depth options on day three as well.

Buyer Beware

  • OT Liam Eichenburg, Notre Dame (Rank: 61)
  • OT Alex Leatherwood, Alabama (Rank: 74)
  • IOL Josh Myers, Ohio State (Rank: 168)
  • OT/IOL Jalen Mayfield, Michigan (Rank: 217)
  • IOL Deonte Brown, Alabama (Rank: 229)
  • OT Brenden Jaimes, Nebraska (Rank: 281)
  • OT Spencer Brown, Northern Iowa (Rank: 385)

Eichenburg, Leatherwood, and Mayfield have all been mentioned as potential late-first round picks, which my model rankings would indicate would be a mistake. The others, on the other hand, simply didn’t have the college production to warrant even being a day-two selection if they achieve their mean projection.

Overview

It’s the Saints, so we should never be shocked if they add an offensive lineman in the draft. Their performance declined last season, and, all of a sudden, they don’t have much long-term assurance at the position.

I wouldn’t be opposed to drafting a tackle like Jenkins or Cosmi if available, though, in all likelihood, New Orleans should be looking at their options available starting in the third round.

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